Higanbana 1st Night Ch. 1: Mesomeso-san

Ch1

General discussion topic for Chapter 1: Mesomeso-san of Higanbana no Saku Yoru ni: The First Night. Please tag any references to later chapters or outside works with the [spoiler] tag, providing adequate context in parenthesis.
We take spoilers very seriously, and ignoring this rule could potentially result in a ban.

While this topic will serve as a general hub for discussion of the Chapter, if a conversation ends up flowing in a certain direction (eg. You start talking about the series as a whole rather than this particular Chapter), don’t be afraid to continue it in your own topic! Keep the “reply as linked topic” button beside each post in mind.

What would you rate this chapter?

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

0 voters

2 Likes

And right off the bat Higanbana bares the sick cruel fangs of reality to it’s readers with just it’s first few lines.

This arc (despite it’s subject matter) can be a real thrill of a ride to read sometimes. The horror is on point when it ought to be, and the cruelness of Higanbana’s world makes every victory earned within it’s oppressive vice all the more satisfying which really suits how the villain of this arc is defeated (with Marie’s trap working even as she is practically bawling in terror from the confrontation with her abuser) showing that with an equal mix of ingenuity and tenacity people can overcome the shackles cast upon them from their circumstance.

I might go full @VyseGolbez and post a screenshot-along once I start my reread.

9 Likes

Please do, @pictoshark. I would love to read that. ^^ Higanbana doesn’t get a lot of attention, so I would really enjoy reading detailed impressions like that.

One of the things that made Higanbana stick out is it’s atmosphere. From the way the story establishes it’s main conflict, it definitely made the world of Higanbana feel cold and merciless. The fact that Higanbana’s backgrounds feel much more darker in contrast in Higurashi’s backgrounds only enhances the atmosphere. From what I’ve heard so far, the music sounds pretty nice. Even though it tones down the sweeping music that Umineko had, the music here sticks out enough for me to look forward to certain tracks.

1 Like

Well, I’ve just finished the first chapter, it seemed fairly short for the amount of story we got through. Higanbana really doesn’t take its foot off the pedal the entire way.

I’m already noticing the parallels between Higanbana and other 07thexpansion titles. The protagonist has a suitably fucked up backstory (which we get all at once, seemingly) and we once more have heavy themes based around messy relationships between humans.

I don’t know that i can come up with a proper analysis at almost 4 in the morning, but there were two parts that stuck out to me and which I have underlined in my notes. These are:

Kanamori’s line “You, being denied those relationships and being left out, truly became the leftovers of society.”
This seems to imply having no connections in society imprisons you even outside of it, whereas Kanamori has plenty of connections (the vice principal, the nurse, his own students) and thus is free to do as he pleases once he’s away from them because of his attractive and sociable appearance (see the previous scene when he’s sprinting through the school and creating closed rooms because he can). This will probably be a continuing theme, and I strongly suspect Higanbana (the character, not the novel) will be the suspect of this theme in the future. Also why is Higanbana’s doll of western make? Was she brought here from America? Do all the Youkai have similar physical manifestations? I HAVE SO MANY QUESTIONS.

The second line comes from the titular Character “The Dancing Doll” Higanbana, once she has accepted Marie as “mesomeso-san” and she’s discussing marie’s duties as one of the now 8 mysteries of the school:
“And if the night was truly dark, …only then will daylight brightly shine upon the school.”
We seem to have a chaotic good thing going on here where the Youkai are necessary to protect the good students from bad intentions… somehow. I’m curious to find out how much of our current impression of the Youkai is accurate, if Higanbana really would eat Marie’s soul ‘because it looks delicious’… from the end of the chapter I find myself doubting the reputation of the Youkai as something to be feared, but I guess i’ll have to read the next chapter to see what they’re like! :smiley: I’m sure they’re all lovely…

The only other question that currently tears at my soul is, are we dealing with witches? The genre clearly isn’t a murder mystery, we’re dealing with more traditional Japanese horror, but I can’t help but see the similarities between Witches and Youkai. I don’t think that the stories are connected but i wouldn’t be surprised if they were. Higanbana’s string of events with the button could easily be referred to as ‘a string of miracles’ with a little imagination.

Also there’s more of this ‘it’s only natural’/‘it was inevitable’/‘it’s the obvious result’ nonsense in Ryukishi’s writing again. Protip: if the Ryukishi tells you something is only natural he’s probably misdirecting you or setting you up for something. I feel like he’s personally taunting me.

2 Likes

And with that, I’ve completed Mesomeso-san. Like you all said, it was a very brutal read. The lengths Ryukishi goes to put us through the self-justification of scum like Kanamori-sensei. In the end, he really had distanced himself from his humanity. He had long since given up on redemption: all he sought was self-satisfaction and reinforcing his hedonistic life choices. It is very discomforting how easy it is to get carried away with his reasoning though. On a very basic level, I think we can all relate to his struggles to avoid pain and maintain his everyday life. The writing really puts us in his head, and we feel all his pains and understand why he does the things he does. But well, maybe if he didn’t choose to rape an innocent girl and try to convince himself this is normal, we’d have an easier time treating him like a human. But he himself gave up his humanity long before the story began. And thus, his was a fitting end.

But up until the end, I really did feel the despair of Marie. I feel like I could tolerate the rape, I could tolerate her isolation and depths of despair, because I could at least hold onto the small hope that Marie could turn the situation around, and get her revenge. Even in death, she was told that her hope of redemption in the afterlife had been stolen away by Kanamori. That was the point where I really felt the despair. It’s not suffering that induces despair; it’s the complete destruction of hope.
Given that, I’m very glad that there was a silver lining in the very end, that he got his just deserts and Marie had her wish granted. Marie may have had a pitiful life, but perhaps in the afterlife she can find some peace in her new duty, of protecting others from suffering a similar fate. I hope we see more of her growth in future chapters, that would be a nice touch.

Side note: The music in this game is fucking good. Really fucking good. I knew I shouldn’t expect any less from 07th Expansion, but yeah, some really amazing compositions here. I’ll need to look up who’s behind the soundtrack, but I can already feel lots of Dai here. Maybe someone better at analysing musical compositions can do a better writeup on the soundtrack than me.

Let’s look at some screencaps I took.

51)

The words “tear into her privacy and dignity to satisfy our own curiosity” really hit me. That’s pure Ryukishi right there. Only through stories can we explore the thoughts of abuse victims and abusers alike, and scrutinise their every cognition from a higher plane of existence. It’s not like we could say these kinds of things about real people, of course that would be the highest invasion of privacy. But through fiction, we can tear into the lives of these characters without regard for what they’d think, and maybe learn something about ourselves through their thoughts and behaviours. In the end, we may be witches, but that doesn’t mean we can’t read the story with love.

59)

The dark alley called ‘today’, huh. I guess not every trauma or horrible fate has to be such a grand thing. Sometimes, the most terrifying thing of all is the present, everyday normal life we’re forced to endure.

Higanbana - The First Night_2017-08-21_02-55-19

Presentation.

Higanbana - The First Night_2017-08-21_22-11-29

With statements like this, you immediately understand Kanamori’s thinking. But understanding and acceptance are not the same thing.

Higanbana - The First Night_2017-08-21_22-18-28

That’s some Umineko writing.

Higanbana - The First Night_2017-08-21_22-40-19

Sweet catharsis. Hang in there, Marie.

Higanbana - The First Night_2017-08-21_22-41-40

@MagusVerborum already highlighted this, but yeah. This is a Ryukishi game.

Very invested in this game now. Onward to The Spirit Camera.

7 Likes

image

This is a pretty dense line all things considered.

The lines that follow it kinda serve a dual purpose.

image

For the smarter ones amongst the audience they almost exist to give you back your breathing room after the first so horrifically and suddenly intruded on it. For the slower witted from our sample of readers they re drive what the previous lines said.


And before the opening credits even roll Spider Lily Translations are already given quite the awkward little beast:

image

Here’s a question for anyone who cares to answer it.

Can you think of any natural localization of all the *mesomeso* things?

The criteria would be to not have to include a separate document like a glossary on a menu or something, and to have it naturally flow in the dialogue.

For bonus points try to come up with how to avoid the honorifics used later.

The Opening Scene transcript

A man exits a bathroom stall and leaves a lone girl behind him.

As for the girl’s appearance… if described with a word - it was strange.

She wore socks and indoor slippers.
If we suppose this is a school, then there’s nothing strange about that.

On her back she was wearing a red backpack.
If we suppose this is a school, then there’s nothing strange about that.

And she was wearing a bra and panties.
There was nothing strange about the girl wearing underwear in itself

…However, for there to be a girl in her underwear in a bathroom stall - that was strange. For her to wear her backpack while in her underwear - that was strange. <> For her to wear her backpack while in her underwear - that was strange. <> And for a girl and a man to be alone in a bathroom stall - that was strange. <> …Even if we imagined what kind of unseemly things could have happened here, <> they couldn’t have been described as anything but strange.

As the echoes of the man’s footsteps began to fade away, <> the girl remembered she helplessly forgotten - alone in the former school building. <> As she sank to the floor, she began to shed her tears while sobbing, *mesomeso*

2 Likes

Higanbana time~

So, right away I want to point out how dark Higanbana is in it’s presentation. The music is dark, the background is dark, the writing is dark… Even the character sprites have emphasis on shadows to be dark. And I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the first thing we hear once we get past the title screen is creepy ominous wind. It’s pretty clear that Higanbana wants to take the horror elements of Higurashi, and make them even darker and creepier.

Higanbana goes right into the deep end with a story about an incredibly unhealthy power dynamic between a teacher named Kanamori and his student, a girl named Marie. And by unhealthy power dynamic, I mean that he’s raping her in the bathroom every day after school, and in exchange would protect her from bullying.

Anyway, it’s screenshot time everyone!

And that’s really what’s so sad about Marie. Up until she meets Higanbana, she is able to mentally justify Kanamori’s actions because she’s so afraid of being blackmailed by him, or being bullied by her peers. She’s essentially the perfect target because everyone around her isolated her and forgot her.

She doesn’t realize until after talking with Higanbana that the social pressure hurts Kanamori’s reputation even more, and that she could have used that to her advantage while she was still alive. But at the same time, she couldn’t reach out for help. No one was willing to ever listen to her story, instead thinking of her as a ghost.

She hoped until the bitter end that someone would listen to her story and get her the help she needed. Kanamori stole what remained of her dignity from her, and then eventually stole her life. Even in death, he took her only hope of redemption by attempting to become Mesomeso himself. But in the end, Marie gets her happy ending and becomes the 8th member of the school’s youkai.

I also want to point out that I loved that when Kanamori was first talking about murdering Marie, that this song played. But then, the same song came back when Marie first started talking about becoming Mesomeso, and getting her revenge once she’s dead. It’s as if this BGM is the literal sounds of their desperation and downward spiral into insanity.

The song that plays when Higanbana herself makes an appearance is also beautiful. It’s elegant, yet mystical. And it perfectly fits her character of being a cold, creepy, doll like girl. And you have to admit, that violin is amazing! I’d love it if someone did a full blown musical analysis of Higanbana’s music. One of our newer members, @Arietta has been doing a fantastic job analyzing some of Umineko’s music over in the 07th Expansion music thread. Say, @Arietta, do you want to give Higanbana a shot? I’d love to read what you have to say about the music in Higanbana.

And to answer your question, @pictoshark, I don’t think mesomeso could be localized? The problem is, it’s a sound. Mesomeso is the onomatopoeia of Marie’s cries… Maybe she could be called Moaning Marie? I have no idea, hahaha. :blushing:

4 Likes

Higanbana’s super short, actually. Each chapter takes like 2-3 hours tops to read. I’d say overall it’s about 20 hours to read everything!

And yeah, I completely agree with you. Understanding characters helps to understand the musical choices around them. Plus, Higanbana is really good, so it’s worth reading regardless!

But yeah, thanks for analyzing the music for Higanbana! I look forward to hearing what you have to say!

1 Like

Higanbana can be bought through the Amazon! To get the full story, you’ll want to buy both the first and second night! And to translate it into English, head on over to Spider Lily to get the English fan translation! :joyful:

2 Likes

So I just finished the first chapter.

Hooh boy, the very first story is about child abuse, and then one of those really bad ones with the abuser being in a position where he’s supposed to take care of children. And one thing that I thought of pretty quickly, while Marie does get her somewhat happy ending, that kind of thing happens and has happened way too often in real life. I don’t remember if it happened in other countries as well, but several years ago in Germany it came to light that there have been countless priests who have been abusing boys in their custody. And in these cases, it’s usually been a similar type of relationship between abuser and abused one, with the abused one being usually fully controlled, and thinking that this is somehow right, as the abused one usually views the abuser as a type of parental figure (kinda, there’s probably a better word), which makes it so much harder to actually call for help.

Now for some thoughts I have about how this story is probably going to proceed from here. Granted, this prediction does come from the knowledge that there are 7 chapters in the first night and 7 chapters in the second. So, right now I’m thinking that the next 6 chapters are going to introduce 6 more sad fates which then turn into new legends of this school. Now, for the second night, it could go two ways. It’ll either be 7 additional ones, putting the count up from then 14 to 21, or, and I think this is more likely, it’ll look at the original 7, as I myself think that those come from sad fates that have happened long in the past. That there could be such fates is supported by the fact that the origin of Higanbana herself seems to be a girl that died in the infirmary.


I was so free to try to transcribe that piece, as it makes it easier, at least for me, to analyze a song if I have the note sheet in front of me. So for now, here’s the sheet, I’ll add an analysis at a later point. Oh, and the top line is the violin, the two bottom ones are piano.

Sheet










One thing to note is that the melody in the right hand of the piano voice from the first 16 measures plays throughout the entire piece, albeit from a different “instrument” (it’s not really an instrument, more some type of synthesizer). That melody also plays as an outro to the piece. Furthermore, I think that this is actually written in 4/2, not 4/4, so for 100% accuracy you’d have to ignore every second measure division, however the program I used to write the notes didn’t give the option to have such a time signature.

4 Likes

This was interesting. Even the next morning I am still digesting parts of it.

07th Expansion is kind of known for creepy horror stuff, but this is the first time we are getting what feels like a deliberate ghost story. The “Seven Wonders” of the school is a pretty familiar setup for ghost stories - particularly one like the ones told at sleep overs and the like. And this very first story draws some clear parallels to the Legend Of Hanako-san a very common and often appropriated Japanese ghost story.

At the start of the story though Mesomeso-san is very much alive, and the reason she is crying is painfully believable. A week-willed girl who has been essentially entrapped by figure of authority in her life, who abuses her while framing it as salvation. Of course we find out quickly from his turn at narration that he knows he is just taking advantage of her, but in that we also see just what scum he is as he justifies it with things like being a impeccable teacher or more generally a good guy.

So we have living ghost in Marie who is invisible to her classmates, family, and society. As well a living demon in the form of the teacher who is preying on the weak. It is a scary ghost story before anything super natural has happened.

But the serie’s namesake is a supernatural beeing and she lets her presence be known. The meeting between Higanbana and Marie in the library is interesting, as it is called out in the confrontation between Marie and the teacher at the end that this was the moment that sealed her fate. The flower Higanbana (spider lily) has a strong association with death. They are thought to be the flower that grows along the Japanese equivalent of the river Styx (sanzu river). The crossing of the river is metaphor of crossing from life to death, and similarly when Marie meets Higanbana in the library she is about to journey to her death, and the decision to become youkai is the moment she begins her crossing. I am curious if as we move forward will meeting Higanbana always be something we see before one dies or almost dies?

The Teacher then kills Marie, and after killing her and disgracing her body, ends up trying to steal the last thing that had given Marie strength in her final moments the title of Mesomeso-san. Higanbana sets it up so that this will be a fight for the demon title. We get an ending which left me feeling like Higanbana set up the teacher on Marie’s behalf. She abstained from her vote to trigger the showdown, but since it was always a showdown over who was the better Mesomeso-san, Marie was always going to “follow the rules of Mesomeso-san” better than someone like that cocky teacher.

Marie was failed by society, but it was in part due to her lack of participation in it. While I do not think of Marie as anything but tragic, by the end of the confrontation with the Teacher even she realizes that she reached this point because she did not reach out and lean on society. The cold truth of the world is while we want someone to go in and save people like Marie, they often need to be able to muscle the strength to try saving themselves first. In many ways her revenge against the teacher is only realized because she chose to lean on Higanbana and Higanbana took enough of a liking to her to basically orchestrate it for her.

In this way the story is really about human nature and human problems. The teacher is terrible, but in many ways he is better at playing life than Marie is or ever will be. The story acknowledges the tragedy of this, and in this story at least he gets punished, but it is pretty clear that without Higanbana herself he would have gotten away with everything. While reading the teachers POV sections I was struck by that feeling of getting an eye into the minds of people who you see on the news. I don’t want to link to specific stories but the “otherwise really nice rapist” is a reoccurring headline at least in the US, and the Teacher POV gives some insight into the way these people compartmentalize their abusive behavior amid living a normal life. How many pass without getting the attention of the police?

Some final comments - the music for this game really is amazing. The way it triggers dynamically so cleanly really impressed me as I feel like I hit a bit of frenzied page turning pace at a certain point. I particularly wanted to call out the use the school bell tones, particularly in the music in the final confrontation. It was very clever and set the tone perfectly.

Also, I don’t normally do this but I gave both the teacher and Higanbana a voice in my head - I read all of the teacher lines as if he was voiced by Takehito Koyasu and I imagined Miyuki Sawashiro delivering Higanbana’s. I feel a little bad towards Takehito Koyasu for so easily mentally assigning him such a scummy role so easily, but he is the voice of the cocky jackass to me.

9 Likes

Would give you gold if emojis were working. Heckin good post @kyuketsukimiyu. Setting the bar for those to follow!

Late, but whatever. Just will be going over thoughts, since continously recapping the chapter is a bad habit we all keep falling into on this site and I’m actively still trying to not do that.

Marie and -
Okay let me hold myself up already, because going to write that sentence I realized I didn’t remember what the teacher’s name is, despite the fact I was about to talk about how well written he is for his role. Which is impressive, because that’s already meant I just think of him as “that scumbag teacher” rather than ‘the character Kanamori’ which is a testament to what I’m saying.

Marie and Kanamori are both really well written. Marie’s solitary tragedy and Kanamori’s extravagant over-normalcy are both intesting and I think they clash with each other really well. It’s very believable.

It’s also interesting to see how they both pursue the fantasy side of the tale to take the seat of Mesomeso-san. Now as we all know, magic is bul- no I’m kidding that’s completely irrelevant here. It’s an interesting setting to use; I’m very aware of how much japanese students enjoy the Seven Mysteries idea (surprising that they can always find enough things to make the list) and using that as a supernatural council over a territory is a really cool idea for the story. I’m interested to see who else alongside Dancing Doll Higanbana is part of Class 13. Maybe one of them is a statue in an art classroom, they absolutely adore that one over there.

To touch on Higanbana, she fits her role well in the narrative between Marie and Kanamori, but there’s honestly not a lot to say. Her design is nice and she’s very grandiose in her mannerisms, but despite her central role in the conflict (and the game I assume) she’s not in Ch.1 too much to leave a real impression outside of the hints that she’s a lot darker than she lets on. Which honestly, is fine. Much more and she would of detracted from the story arc between its two leads.

Outside of the story itself, there’s a lot of fun style choices in how Higanbana is presented. I like the way he’s handled his usual photo backgrounds. The filtering he’s done on these ones looks nice and lends itself to the mood very well. The one used as the entrance to the old girl’s bathroom, with the focus on the gender sign, is really good. As for the music, I’m really enjoying it. My favourite track that was prominent in Ch.1 was the one that incorporated the school bells into it’s melody, that was used during the build-up to and in the final confrontation.

…and then… well. You know. Art. Wish I could say it was fine, but, it’s not. It’s better, yes, and I do like how it looks. The more rounded and realistic style, along with the heavy dark shading is really nice. Marie in particular portrays very specific vibes and really looks like what the character the text describes should. It’s okay, but the fact that despite said shading style it looks bubbly most of the time detracts from the dark serious tone this work is (so far) trying to take. I’ll hopefully get over it, but eh. I legitimately can not bring myself to enjoy Ryukishi’s art in all the works I’ve read so far.

And that’s… pretty much it for Ch.1. Cool story, sold me on the setting. Which is all it needed to do, so good job on the intro chapter. I’m interested to see what ‘The Spirit Camera’ is all about (though considering the heavy parallels to existing japanese myth and stories, I’m pretty sure I already know).

Applause where it is due, however. Aspi already pointed it out, but the line Marie headed down the dark alley called ‘today’ is straight up one of the best lines I’ve ever seen written by human hand.

8 Likes

Okay I promised some analysis of that music track, so here I go.

So first things first, the piece is written in C-minor, and the melody uses mostly long notes, both of which contribute to the general calm, yet mysterious, perhaps even dignified vibe this piece gives.

Now going into more detail, starting with the first 16 measures. Here, in the left hand the base tone of C is basically played the entire time, and the lower note of the two goes down one tone each 4 measures. Of note here is that in the final two measures (so 15 and 16) the upper of the two tones is one minor second lower, playing a B, which is not part of the C-minor scale, thus creating a sort of dissonance in the end. The melody in the right hand already starts giving a mysterious vibe by not quite reaching the higher C, but instead the highest tone only being a Bb. The most interesting part of this intro though are the bells. These follow the same melody as the right hand in the piano voice, however the bells don’t play on every note, and furthermore often only start a bit later. One thing to note about this is that especially in Japan the type of bell that is used here is often associated with the spiritual. So what I think is expressed through that is the otherwordly things, so Higanbana in this case, represented by the bells, seeping into the normal human world, represented by the piano.

Now in the next 16 measures, the piano plays the same thing as in the first 16, however the melody of the right hand is joined by a high-pitched voice probably created by a synthesizer, further cementing the otherwordly feel. Additionally, the violin starts playing in this part. The intervals between different notes of the melody are mostly seconds, with the occasional third or fourth, which are all intervals we are used to these days and which thus sound natural. One part that stands out in this segment is the Ab in the 28th measure. This is accomplished by not only having that note on the second beat but also by the interval with the preceding note being a minor seventh, an interval that is in general not used that often and especially stands out in this piece. This has the effect that the listener now pays a bigger attention, even if only subconciously, to the music, just mere moments before the piano voice changes considerably.

Which is what we come to now, in measures 33 to 48. The piano now no longer plays the melody it did in the first 32 measures but instead supports the main melody. While it is not immediately apparent by just looking at the notes, we can view the piano voice as playing chords, as the individual notes resound through one measure, so that for example in the 33rd measure G, C and D are eventually heard at the same time. So from here on out, I’ll view these as chords. In measures 33 to 36 the piano basically plays around the C-minor triad. This can be best seen in measure 34, where we have the three notes C, Eb, and G which make up the C-minor triad. The interesting thing here is, and this goes for every single chord in this piece, that the triads aren’t played in the typical order of C, then Eb, then G, but instead first giving the base tone C in the left hand, then playing a G, then playing the next higher C in the right hand, and finally ending with Eb. Basically, the normally highest tone of the triad is instead lowered by one octave and played first in the right hand. This is another small detail that probably causes us to perceive this piece as different and unusual. In the next four measures the piano is basically playing around a Bb-major triad. In measures 41 and 42 we basically have a Ab-major triad, and then going back to Bb-major, although this time the fifth is omitted and the fourth is played instead. In the final four measures of this segment we are back to C-minor again. What we see in this chord progression is that we first start with the same idea of starting with C and then going down one tone every four measures, however later on instead of going further down we go back up to C.
The melody in this part still uses mostly seonds, although it is in general higher than the melody in the previous segment. Again, near the end of this segment the listener’s attention is supposed to be more focused thanks to the high Bb in measure 47.
The melody from the right hand of the piano from the first two segments is still present though, as if you listen closely, you can still hear the synthesizer play that melody.
I think the change in the piano voice signifies that we have truly entered Higanbana’s world now, or that she has ours, however you want to look at it, and yet it seems to be a tragic or sad world, as we are still listening to a piece in minor.

The next segment, measures 49 to 64, are very interesting. Again, I’ll start with the chords throughout this segment. In the first four measures, we have a Eb-major triad. In the next four measures we then have a F-major triad. In the last 8 measures we then have a G-major triad, although the last four are one octave lower thane the first four. You might have noticed the word major here a lot. And it’s not only the word itself, with our first chord being Eb-major, we can show that we switched to the corresponding major scale to C-minor, which is Eb-major.
The melody itself still uses mostly seconds, however in combination with the chords it sounds more hopeful due to the change to major. The lowering by one octave of the chords in measures 61 to 64 gives a sense of closure, especially as the violin only holds out one note through this part. Overall, we can interpret this as while this appearance of Higanbana seems to be a mostly sad thing, there is still something hopeful about it.

After that, we only hear the melody we heard at the very beginning, but only through the synthesizer now and it furthermore gets less and less coherent. This can be interpreted as the spiritual influence being fleeting and disappearing again, which is backed up by all appearances of Higanbana, as she’s gone as quickly as she came.


I am curious if there is a second layer I could interpret this with once I know Higanbana’s character more. So I might come back to this piece at the end of Higanbana as a whole. Also I hope this wasn’t too boring, as I went at this from a more theoretical angle than is often seen around here.

9 Likes

I am disgusted, Kanamori. Cause you are grown ass man, you had a choice! Where is your integrity, where are your morals, where are your values as a man, as a father, where are they.

Alrighty, so I read Mesomeso-san yesterday and now that I’ve had some time to sort out my thoughts on it I thought I would post it up here.

Firstly I’d like to join in with people saying that this was a definitely a Ryukishi novel. The abused children, check. Bubbly art, check. Terrible grownup who should be a mentor, check. Supernatural, double check. Overall, made me feel pretty comfortable reading this.

One thing that I did find enjoyable reading this is that there didn’t really seem to be any mystery. That may seem weird for me to say but I liked the fact that we were told pretty much all the facts of the matter straight up in the first few minutes, heck, the first few lines of the chapter. I found that I enjoyed the writing so much more when I wasn’t trying to piece together the narrative in a weird complex puzzle. I’m sure there are things that were foreshadowed in this chapter but they weren’t obvious or distracting.

Also, Ryukishi got the pacing right. I’m actually kind of amazed at this. There wasn’t any long slice-of-life buildup with a kind of vague notion that something was wrong. Instead we are dropped right into the story and it just keeps going with interesting and dark storytelling. I wonder if it’s because of the the length of the story but I did not feel myself ever get bored at any point in this story. I feel like I owe Ryukishi an apology for every time I’ve said that his stories start too slow.

However, there is one complaint I have. Perhaps this is mostly because I had so much in my mind that this was a Ryukishi story, but I feel like this story was just very cliche. As much as I liked the writing, characters (which I’ll get to) and world that it builds so far, the truth is that this story is so familiar it almost hurts. It almost follows every Japanese horror story I’ve ever read in any manga ever. The ending is pretty predictable. As soon as it became clear that there was going to be a showdown I knew that the teacher was going to look like he would win and then lose because he missed the point of the game. It kind of took away from the moment, at least for me.

Now, in fairness this could be Ryukishi lulling us into a sense of familiarity. Like he does in Umineko, he could be making the story seem like a common trope and then twist it later on in the story. It may be that the twist hasn’t happened yet. I don’t know if this is the case and if it is it is yet another example of brilliant writing on his part. I hope this will prove true and my criticism will prove unfounded.

Can I talk about how much I love the character Higanbana? Because I love Higanbana. The way that she’s described, the way she talks, the mystery that still surrounds her, the crazy look that she gets, the dress, the creepiness of her general appearance and aura. She’s everything that I was hoping for from a cursed doll character. I can’t wait to see more of the titular character in the rest of this story. I’m assuming that her backstory will be explained sometime in the later chapters but for now I just like having her be creepy as opposed to tragic.

The other characters were also pretty good. They were also a little cliche for my taste but I think Ryukishi writes them so well that it doesn’t really matter all that much. I particularly liked how Kanamori was written. Obviously there really isn’t a way that the reader can sympathize with him. Indeed, I don’t think you could if you tried. However, Ryukishi seems to be very adept at writing characters that, while not sympathetic per se, are very understandable. You understand how a character like Kanamori could reach the level he reaches because everyone understands being unappreciated, tired, frustrated at those above you who seem incompetent. However, the reason we judge him to be trash is because we understand what it’s like to be like that but then not give in to the temptation that he gave in to.

I don’t feel like there’s a lot to say about Marie at the moment. On the one hand, I do feel sorry for her. But, as was pointed out above, Kanamori does have a point in that, sometimes there are things that are too big for us to handle alone and we need the help of others. By not getting the help of others Marie sealed her fate. While we could try and excuse Marie with her own excuses that she brings up in the novel, we also see where those excuses led her. Instead we must acknowledge that there is definitely a lesson that Marie learned, sadly too late to save her life. Society and other people must be relied on to survive the evils we face in this world. We would never blame Marie, nor would we say that her situation was her fault. However, we can learn people in that situation do have an option other than suffering and death. I think that, when viewed in this light, we might even take a little hope away from this story.

Finally the music. I don’t have an ear like @VyseGolbez but I do like to think I know when music is good. And this music is good. I loved the music that played with the ‘going home’ bell sound to make that creepy remix. That was genius and it gave me the shivers.

I guess just as a closing remark I should add that I’ve already read ahead up to the third chapter and it’s just as good later down the road so if you need any encouraging here it is. Do it, you won’t regret it at all.

9 Likes

Kanamori comitted psychological suicide eh… Very interesting interpretation @Arietta. Can you further demonstrate the guilt you believe Kanamori was feeling, as opposed to the need to remove evidence related to his crime?

I hadn’t really considered the hero’s journey in relation to Kanamori, but what you’re saying seems to make a lot of sense. I’m currently constructing a theory that looks at all three nights and tries to explain their stories as if they occurred without Youkai (I was saving it for the podcast but it seems we’ve got some time now to discuss it here). I think that the Youkai in this story represent tragedies more than cause them. I think that Kanamori’s inner monologue is inherently untrustworthy and that though he claims he’s searching for the button to clear evidence I think that he could have fabricated this ‘missing button’ scenario subconsciously to drive himself into the scene of the crime, where he was overwhelmed by guilt and fear of people discovering what he’d done and killed himself. He’s obsessed with appearances so it’s only natural no one would find his body, he wouldn’t want to be known as one who committed suicide, and he certainly wouldn’t want his legacy to be associated with the death of Marie.

This isn’t Umineko but I’m convinced that you can explain all of these stories with a method that doesn’t involve the Youkai’s interference, I think they merely feed off the tragedy rather than cause it.

Based off of (chapter 2 spoilers) Higanbana’s apparent sympathy towards Yoko, who killed herself and was eaten by Higanbana and (chapter 3 spoilers): Higanbana’s claim that she could not feed off of Midori after she began denying reality I strongly suspect Higanbana as a ‘mystery’ of the school is a representative of suicide in the school. I think that’s what created her, i think that any time Higanbana consumes souls it’s from people who would have killed themselves through their own despair regardless.

4 Likes

3 posts were merged into an existing topic: Introducing the Higanbana Bookclub, with prizes up for grabs!